TRIDELPHIA, W.Va. (BP) — Gathering around the theme “a new day,” West Virginia Southern Baptists were introduced to three new convention strategists and presented with four-year goals for church planting and baptisms.
Meeting Nov. 3-4 at the Fairfield Inn and Suites Wheeling Triadelphia at The Highlands in Triadelphia, W.Va., 155 messengers and 48 guests marked a 120 percent increase in total attendance over last year’s West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists annual meeting.
WVCSB executive director-treasurer Bill Henard presented three strategists hired by the convention during the past year: Cleve Persinger, who oversees partnerships and communication; Danny Rumple, who oversees missions and church planting; and Tim Turner, who oversees evangelism and discipleship.
Together, Henard and the strategists presented a series of goals adopted by the convention’s executive board to “strengthen and send” West Virginia Southern Baptists leading up to the convention’s 50th anniversary in 2020. Among the “2020 goals”:
— Involve 25 percent of the state’s congregations in church planting.
— Achieve a 90-percent “success rate” among church plants, with success defined as experiencing incremental growth and baptizing a sufficient number of new believers to be self-sustaining after five years.
— Form additional “Acts 1:8 partnerships” linking West Virginia Southern Baptists in missions partnerships with believers in the state, in other states and across the world.
— Increase baptisms 5 percent per year among reporting churches.
— Initiate a revitalization process in at least one church in every West Virginia association.
The “a new day” theme has been the convention’s emphasis for the entire fall season and is drawn from Amos 5:4-6. According to a WVCSB news release, the theme “reminds us that [God’s] saving acts are not simply a thing of the past. We should seek them in the present.”
Henard told messengers, “West Virginia Southern Baptists celebrate God’s past faithfulness, but believe the state’s best days are ahead. The unity among our associational DOMs, pastors and the state convention is unprecedented. There is nothing more beautiful than when a convention of God’s people work together. It truly is a new day.”
The convention unanimously adopted the 2017 budget of $2,504,244, an increase of 6 percent from the current year.
Included in the 2017 budget: $1,197,833 in anticipated Cooperative Program giving from WVCSB churches; a continued 60/40 split between WVCSB and Southern Baptist Convention causes; $1,141,000 in anticipated funding from the North American Mission Board; and $55,000 anticipated from LifeWay Christian Resources.
All four convention officers were re-elected: president, Ron McCoy, associational missionary for the Upper Ohio Valley Baptist Association in Moundsville, W.Va.; first vice president, Todd Hill, pastor of Grace Baptist in Parkersburg, W.Va.; second vice president, Paul Harris, pastor of Abundant Hope Church in Barboursville, W.Va.; and recording secretary Jim Messenger, pastor of Faith Baptist in West Union, W.Va.
In his president’s message, McCoy said, “We need a spirit of cooperation to take this state for the Gospel. There’s no reason West Virginia cannot be the epicenter of revival in our nation.”
C.J. Adkins, pastor of Westmoreland Baptist Church in Huntington, W.Va., delivered the convention message, stating, “We have a resource in difficult times. The Almighty God is our strength.”
Messengers approved the only presented resolution, which thanked the city of Wheeling and the Upper Ohio Valley Association for their hospitality in hosting the annual meeting.
Guest speakers included Mark Dance, director of LifeWay Pastors, who charged pastors to “stop and rest,” and Tommy Green, executive director of the Florida Baptist Convention.
Green closed the annual meeting by calling WVCSB pastors to pray for one another, forgive the past and seek God.
“The Gospel of Jesus Christ is what brings us together,” Green said. “If we’re going to reach West Virginia for Christ, we must be together.” Pastors knelt at the altar in response.
Music was led by the worship team from Open Door Baptist Church in Colliers, W.Va.
The Pastors’ and Ministers’ Wives’ Conferences were held prior to the annual meeting.
The WVCSB 2017 annual meeting will be held Nov. 2-3 at First Baptist Church of Fairlea, in Lewisburg, W.Va.